2008-12-30

Things change.

It has been a good number of years since I have had Christmas with a blood relative. Probably the last one was with the younger of my older brothers in 2001. He is now in Mexico, a little far to travel for a week. The oldest brother is in Ottawa, again, a fair distance to travel. My sister is about a five hour drive (in winter) north of me and she has all of her husbands family in the area they live in. I have my urban family that I spend Christmas with. It fluctuates a bit each year, but the core of it stays pretty much the same.

Except this year. None of us likes hot turkey, so we cooked up a breast in order to have cold sandwiches for boxing day - it came out a bit dry. My friends decided that I should do the cooking this year - you would think they would know better by now! We had elk roast, the recipe sounded interesting, but it came out tough and had no flavour. The scalloped potatoes (that I have successfully made before) were just short of a disaster, but at least the roast and the potatoes were ready at the same time. Something I rarely manage. I even screwed up the salad - yes, I did! I can blame some of the disaster on it not being my kitchen, but alas, not all of it.

One of the traditions that slipped this year was the tree...we have a decorating party the last Sunday before Christmas and get the house all set up and the tree decorated. Not this year, we brought the tree in from the cold and the branches were still upright, so we didn't get it decorated until Tuesday. Whatever, we had decided not to stress about anything this year. This, in turn led us to discussing how things change no matter how much you want them to stay the same.

Click to enlarge

This is how the tree wound up looking, I like the way the lights reflect on the ceiling and floor.


Close up of the Angel.

More reflected lights.


One of the biggest traditions smashed for me, was opening gifts on Christmas morning. My urban family opens them Christmas Eve - after midnight, but still! The kid in me protests!


I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and no-one had illusions shattered or traditions broken beyond repair.

I also wish you all the best in the new year.

Edit: It seems (and to me too when I read it again) that I am whining. That is not how it was meant to sound. I had a wonderful Christmas in spite of the little things that went wrong and we all had a good laugh about dinner. I am very grateful to have my urban family.

2008-12-24

It's Here!

The photo book! I just got a call that it has arrived at the store so I must rush out and go get it, but I thought I would let you all know. The manager is giving it to me for free and a little something besides.

When I get back I'll let you all know what that is!

I am so happy!


Edit: (yes it takes that long to get there and back by bus on Christmas eve)

It looks good! I would swear that I ordered the darker red, but I don't care at this point. They gave it to me for free and then gave me a $50.00 gift card! That is worth more than what I would have paid for the book! For as much shopping as I do there, I think that was fair. I have a photo or two that I would like to see printed large, so I will probably still go back to them, they do a good job - when they get it done. I just won't do anything at Christmas again.

Everyone have a Merry Christmas, or Hanukkah or whatever you celebrate.

2008-12-22

WWC: Naughty & Nice

The words for today's Weekly Word Challenge are Naughty & Nice. Goes well with the season don't you think?

I am going to start with NICE:

This is a plexi ball of Christmas lights that my friend hangs in her entrance during the hols. I think it is very NICE.



She also has rope lights in red & green which are NICE, but the green string didn't photo as NICEly as the red.



These are the blanket lights she has in the back yard on her blue spruce and they look very NICE too.


This is my Christmas tree this year. It is NICE and simple. The shot however was a bit off, so I blurred it some more and played with the colours.


This turned out much more NICEly and is an accurate colour representation.


Now for NAUGHTY.


I ordered a photo book from London Drugs (big drug chain here in western Canada that sells everything along with drugs) on Nov 18th with several of the photos I have taken since I got my new camera. You can order this on-line and it is supposed to arrive in two weeks. On Dec 02, I asked at the store where it was and the young girl at the counter actually took the time to find my order at the developing store and explained that they had a delay in receiving supplies but that it would be printed next and I should have it at the beginning of next week. When I went in on Dec 16th to ask, the girl at the desk called the other store and was given a song & dance routine to pass on to me "we can't find your order without your confirmation number" - funny, the last girl had no problem and they don't send conf #'s until the order is finished. But, she was more than willing to let me handle the problem myself and give me the phone number to the store that does the developing....I told her no, I will speak to a manager now! and I remained very calm and the manager assured me she would find out the problem and call me tomorrow. Which she did....the manager at the lab had told her it was done, but appears to have vanished into the ether, so he would print another and it would be to their store by Friday. I got a phone call on Thursday....They will ship it out on Friday, but it won't be at our store until Monday, or I could go and pick it up at the other store. Today.......yet another manager.....well, no they are not in fact printed in the city, they are printed in B.C. (our west coast province) and it is going to be shipped tomorrow morning and will arrive on Wednesday. CHRISTMAS FUCKING EVE! Sorry, for yelling, but that is how I feel.

So, in one sense of the word NAUGHTY, I have nothing - quite literally.

In another interpretation, I was very NAUGHTY to tell them it had to be shipped out of the city as a gift. It is staying right here, it is still a gift though.

They are very NAUGHTY not to have let me know there was a delay in the first place and in not keeping better track of what is going on. Although, I think I will get a NICE discount on the price for all the hassle.



Well, that is that. The WWC is hosted by Tink over at Pickled Beef, drop over and she will give you the scoop on how to join us in our adventures.


Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Festivus, Kwanzaa, Solstice or whatever your winter celebration, may you filled with peace and contentment.



P.S. May that be the last time I am sappy this year ;)

MTM: Bright Nights

I mentioned when I started doing the MTM posts that Edmonton is Festival City. Well, this is the only winter festival that I enjoy!




This event has been raising funds for charities and food for the Edmonton Food Bank for eleven years now. In the last few years they have been working towards being more energy efficient too and are claiming this season to be a "carbon-neutral event"!


“In our continued pursuit of environmental sustainability, we are pleased to have made so many strides with BrightNights,” says Chamber President and CEO Martin Salloum. “We are excited that this year we are not only bigger and brighter, but also greener.”






Alas, this year we have not managed to attend ourselves, the best night to go is the opening night. That is the night they allow you to walk through the park and they only allow city buses into the park. Or at least that is how they had it the one year we made it on the first night. The rest of the time it is open, you are driving your car through the park. Admittedly that is usually much warmer in this neck of the woods, but if you happen to be the one doing the driving your attention gets split and then you just get frustrated.




This year they have put some of these wonderful displays up in Churchill Square downtown and our Legislature grounds are always very prettily decorated. I might get a chance to get out a get some photos later this week.




Yes, I am still photo-less on my computer, so many thanks to the contributors above.

Have a good day all.

MTM is hosted by Travis Erwin.

EDIT: top three photos by: Douglas Dollars, bottom photo by: Susanne & Stefan Herz

Sorry I didn't get this in earlier, I am at work and actually had to do something!

2008-12-19

Just a quick link

I would like you all to pop over to Mizfit and comment. For every comment she gets by Christmas Eve, she is donating a dime to a local womens shelter. Lets make her dig deep shall we?

Damn...missed it by that much!

I pay so much attention to my blogging duties, that my one year blogiversay slipped by unnoticed back in which ever fall month that was. Oh, well! I thought, I will make a big deal of hitting two hundred posts.

So, this is post 201! Well, at least I am close ;)

This is the first year in ... who knows how long, that I have actually sent out Christmas cards - let alone before Christmas. That is quite the accomplishment for me. Of course the Bag Lady's gift is still in production phase (things got screwed up - such is my year) and it has to be mailed up north. If all goes well, she might get it this year.

I was over at a friends tonight making Lefse. OMG is it good! This is the third of fourth year that we have made it and we are getting better at it. For those that are not of Scandinavian descent....Lefse is a flatbread (but we don't make the potato lefse which you can find a million recipes for), we make the sweet dessert type. It has 800,000,000,000,000 calories per piece, because it it made with buttermilk, whipping cream, flour, butter, syrup and egg. Then is is slathered with butter mixed with sugar and cinnamon. She sent me home with some home-made nuts & bolts when we were done....very tasty too and made with more butter! Between just those two recipes, that is 2.5 lbs of butter! I will be making shortbread....another lb of butter and she will be making some other things which will take at least one more lb, and another batch of nuts & bolts.

I will get back to watching my cholesterol in January!

So, now that I have you all drooling on your keyboards...what are your favorite things to make for Christmas?

Have a good day all.

2008-12-16

WWC: Pine & Contribute

Well, sort of.... no photos today, because for some reason, blogger is not showing me any thumbnails, all I get are file numbers. Yeah, like that helps.

So, I Pine for a new computer, so that I may Contribute to the WWC again ;)

Of course, if I reinstall Adobe (and all of the other crap) it might work again. We'll see what happens in the next few days.

Take care all.

2008-12-15

2008-12-14

Baby, it's cold out there!

Well, I managed to reprogram my computer, but it didn't help. By the time I got all the updates and stuff added on, I had used up over 8 Gb of hard drive. I didn't even load all the crap that came with the computer in the first place. BTW, 8 GB is outrageous! As soon as I can go a buy a disk (all of mine are in use), I will be downloading Linux and loading it in hopes of extending the use of this box. I really can not afford to replace it. In the mean time, I have no photoshop - sob! I guess I'll have to make do with the editor that came with the camera.

Except, who wants to go outside and take pictures when it is -26C (-14F) with a windchill of -37C (-35F)? I'm not even walking the 100 yards to the office today, I am checking for messages on the phone from home. (the boss okayed that) I doubt sincerly that we will have anyone drop in to look at suites today. With the slow down we are experienceing in renting...I doubt we would have anyone even if it weren't this cold. The good thing about that, my rent won't be going up!

The manager & her husband took the staff out for Christmas dinner last night - in the cold. I would have taken my camera, but both sets of my batteries were dead...I guess I have been a bit too busy to take any photos lately. Why is it that restaraunts can't seem to grasp the concept of allergies? J & myself are both allergic to shellfish and mushrooms....most dishes are served with one or the other at this place. We both ordered the beef tenderloin, with no sauce and asked that it be cooked on a grill that had not just been used for shellfish or mushrooms. We both had to send it back. They serve the steak on a bed of mashed potatoes and the juices had run into the spuds, so they had to change the entire meal. We could both taste fish and poor J, her tongue started to swell, good thing she had some meds with her. I didn't escape my headache either, but at least I won't die from it. The good thing about it having to be redone, it didn't have to sit under the heater long enough to dry out waiting for one of our party to finish their appetizer and change my steak from med rare to med well. Of course, J's wasn't quite well done, but she ate it anyway. Why do people insist on ruining a good steak by overcooking it?

I still have projects to finish and I seem to have started to ramble, so I will sign off now. I will be back soon, but I still have some stuff to load on this computer so that I am fully functional.

Take care all and stay warm.

2008-12-08

Arrggh!

I am about to lose my patience! I don't have time to do it, but better to do it than lose all my data and photos etc. I have to reprogram my computer...all the tests I can find tell me it is virus and trojan free, but something is eating up the processor and it is taking forever to load pages and do anything. Of course, if I could afford it, it is time for a new one, the 40 gig of hard drive I have is pretty much full (yes, it's that old). I hate windows so much though that I might just download Linux and try that for awhile and see what happens. If I can just get a little more time out of this cpu, I will be fine.

If you don't hear from me in the next few days, well, I will be back, even if I have to post from my phone - ouch!

Take care all, have a great Monday!

2008-12-07

Oh, what a night!

I hate having insomnia. What I hate even more are the nights when I get inside my own head and start stirring up the dust. Opening drawers and cupboards that have been left closed for good reason.

I had one of those nights last night and I am exhausted today! All of my muscles ache from tension and my nerves are screaming. If my nerves were bedding, they would pass even the most stringent of military inspections. When you are lying in bed with all of your muscles tensed up, do you actually hover? I know you don't sleep or even rest. On the other hand, if my nerves generated a shield (like around the Enterprise) no quarters would touch me.

Why does the military make their beds so tight you can bounce a quarter? Is there actually a purpose or is it just a tool to shape men & women into obedient automatons soldiers? Really, it is not like the country will be defeated if the beds aren't made! I can't see the Hitlers and Bin Ladens of the world chortling over an unmade bed, rubbing their hands together in evil glee "we are going to rule the world, there are unmade beds in the barracks over there!"

And why are people not curious? One of the new tenants called a while ago, saying there was no power in the living room wall outlet. They had checked the breakers (at least) and they were all on! Our maintenance fellow went to check it out and pointed out the fact that the outlet was controlled by the light switch on the wall - the one that has no other purpose. When you see a light switch and no light fixture, do you not automatically assume that the switch controls an outlet? It is not there for decoration! I then found out that the tenant has lived in the complex before...for years and has just moved back in! WTF did he think the light switch was for in his other suite? I won't even start on the people that don't know how to flip a breaker!

Well, I must go off to work, have a good day all.

2008-12-05

I'm Back!

Well, mostly anyway. Not that I have ever been consistent here. I have all of the projects at that almost done phase - you know - they just need the hem to be sewn, or the edges trimmed, the last things that seem to take forever. In my case, usually because I've gotten bored. These will get finished though, because they are gifts (although, that hasn't helped me finish some other things). I should be able to post a few photos, but some will have to wait until after Christmas, I don't want to ruin any surprises.

In other news my Aunt Doris died and she will be missed. She was my mom's youngest sister and probably the only Aunt on that side that I really felt I knew. You see, my mom came from Nova Scotia and married an Alberta farm boy. Most of her siblings stayed in that part of the country and I think we only ever met them five or six times. If you would like to read a beautiful tribute to my Aunt, pop over to my sister's blog at Bag Lady's Blather. She is better at these things, she is also the one that keeps the rest of us siblings informed about the goings on within the families.

Well, that's all for today folks, gotta see about finishing something today.